A geographical indication (GI) is a tag given on products having a definite geographical origin and
possesses such qualities the qualities, characteristics or reputation due to their origin. A sign must be
validated in order to identify a product as a GI. Protection for a geographical indication is usually
guaranteed by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication. Geographical Indication
(GI) tag on a product ensures that the right to use the indication is to prevent its use by others
whose product does not match to the applicable standards. For example, in case of jurisdictions
where the Kashmir geographical indication is protected, producers of Kashmir Saffron can exclude
using the term “Kashmir” for Saffron not grown in their fields or not produced as per the standards
set by the code of practice for the geographical indication.
Globally Iran is the largest producer of saffron in the world followed by India. By ensuring the GI tag,
Kashmir saffron becomes the only Saffron producing Country for which GI has been given which in
turn will help to increase prominence of Indian Saffron in the international market thereby boosting
exports and helping the farmers to get better deals and improving their economic standards. The GI
Certification would prevent others to claim ownership over Kashmir Saffron and will end the
marketing of Saffron cultivated in other countries under the garb of being produced in Kashmir and
thus enhancing overall economic prosperity of saffron farmers associated with this crop. It will also
encourage the marketers to expand their business at a global level.
Saffron Cultivation in Kashmir Valley dates back to 500 BC Wan Zhen a Chinese Medical Expert reports that habitat of saffron is in Kashmir. However historians date its arrival prior to 500B.C attributing it to Persia.
Saffron in India is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.
Saffron is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir and has been assigned Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry. The spice is grown in Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar regions of Jammu & Kashmir.
As per Article 22 (I) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), GI tags are referred as indications which identify a
good as originating in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is
essentially attributable to its geographic origin. The Kashmir saffron is cultivated and harvested in
Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar of Jammu & Kashmir located at an altitude of 1600 metres
-1800 metres above mean sea level, with its long strands and deep colour, adds to its uniqueness
and differentiates it from other varieties of saffron available in other parts of the world and it clearly
fulfils the above mentioned criterion.
Following features which differentiate Kashmir Saffron from other varieties available in other parts
of the world over are:
i) It is the only saffron which is grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m above mean sea
ii) It possesses longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter
flavour, chemical-free processing.
iii) It contains a high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and
There are three kinds of saffron which are available in Kashmir —
a) Lachha Saffron,
b) Mongra Saffron
c) Guchhi Saffron.
Following are the uses of Kashmir Saffron
a) It helps to revitalize health.
b) It is used in cosmetics
c) It is used for medicinal purposes.
d) It is used in various other religious rituals all across the country.
e) It is widely used as a spice to add flavor to food and as a dye to color foods
f) It is used in perfume and the textile dye-producing industry
Saffron cultivation contributes significantly to Jammu & Kashmir’s agricultural sector and employs
over 80% of the population. As per Trade Promotion Council of India, India used to be the fourth-
largest importer of Iranian saffron before 2020, with $18.30 million in saffron imported from Iran.
The Iranian variety was sold for Rs 1 lakh per kg which in turn influenced the price of high-quality
Kashmiri saffron that dropped from Rs 2-3 lakh in 2007 to Rs 1 lakh per kg. Many farmers from
Kashmir were reluctant from engaging in saffron cultivation as a result of cheap Iranian saffron into
Indian and international markets.
So, Indian government took steps to expand saffron production in Kashmir. In order to conserve
high-quality Kashmiri saffron, the Geographical Indication Registry approved GI tag on Kashmiri
Saffron in the year 2020. Borewells were created under the National Saffron Mission as a result of
which most of the saffron farmers were able to increase their yield. It helped get a fair price in the
market and boosted the economic conditions of the farmers.
The Geographical Indication (GI) for “Kashmir saffron” is an indirect way to boost tourism by bringing
in a positive image of the place. It provides a useful market-access tool because it adds value to the
items and allowing them to get access to more markets around the world. Producers will be able to
promote distinct products with easily recognized qualities and it may be incorporated in a product’s
marketing plan both domestic and international markets. It will encourage rural development as it
assists saffron farmers get a better price for their product which will eventually bring value to its
place of origin. It will help to boost agro-tourism growth.
There are several health benefits of Kashmir Saffron which are as follows
i) Helps to cure Insomnia – Saffron helps in curing insomnia and ensures better sleep.
ii) Helps to improve digestive system – Saffron contains anti-oxidant properties that helps to
improve digestive system.
iii) Helps to provide relief from pre-menstrual symptoms – Saffron helps to provide relief from pre-
menstrual symptoms such as, mood swings, irritability, headaches and pain.
iv) Helps to prevents Alzheimer’s disease –Saffron can be useful in treating mild-to-moderate
Alzheimer’s, as it may inhibit deposition of a particular protein in the human brain
v) Get relief from toothache – Saffron helps to get relief from toothache and can also help
vi) Get a glowing skin – Saffron is very effective for your skin and can help you to get radiant glow
vii) Boosts mood and memory – Saffron has anti-depressant properties. Saffron helps to extract
increased levels of dopamine from brain.
viii) Boosts pregnancy health –Saffron milk helps in healthier and normal deliveries.
ix) Protects against cancer –Studies have found that saffron helps to kill cancer cells, without
affecting other cells in the body.
x) Enhances libido – Saffron also acts as an aphrodisiac i.e. food or supplements which helps to
boost libido in both men and women.
In agro-food business, GIs are a well-established source of differentiation and given market
development patterns, they are expected to become more popular in India in coming days. As
agricultural and food products have shown significant growth, India’s agro-food systems have seen a
substantial move toward branding. For manufactured and processed food products, branding
methods have become an acknowledged aspect of marketing activity. GIs are becoming more
popular as a branding technique for agricultural products that help to preserve the quality,
reputation, or other characteristics of commodities which are primarily attributed to their location.
Saffron’s registration as a Geographical Indication has had a good impact in the agricultural sector. It
also has a association with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of
the region. Saffron is grown in Kashmir, a geographical location with distinct geo-climatic conditions
and traditional aspects which gives the product a one-of-a-kind value and prevents it from being
misused by others. Kashmiri saffron has large market potential, both domestically and
internationally. Saffron farmers and processors may help to establish more successful enterprises by
combining the GI of Kashmir saffron with a smart marketing framework. It can assist in the
development of a popular brand for Kashmir saffron. The GI of saffron can help to enhance
consumer loyalty, product distinctiveness and distinctness, legal protections, and profit margins. The
saffron business may witness significant profits from geographical indications in a correct way,
ensuring the possibility to make the most of Geographical Indications at both the national and
Following are the sources:
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